Larger crash test dummies created to better represent society

As the waistlines of Americans expand, there is a growing need for a more accurate representation when performing car safety testing.

That’s one reason why crash test dummies are getting a makeover, according to CNN.

The change is not just cosmetic; it could save lives.

Chris O' Connor, CEO of Humanetics, a company that designs crash test dummies, told CNN that obese individuals are 78 percent more likely to die in a car crash. Because people generally carry most of their excess weight in their abdominal region, they are more likely to get moved out of proper seat position in a car accident.

A prototype for the larger crash test dummy weighs 273 pounds with a body mass index of 35.

In addition to adding pounds, crash test dummies are now equipped with over 130 channels of information, according to O’Connor. The data is vital to determine a car’s safety strengths and weaknesses, as well as the most common type of automobile injuries.

The company is also working on adding another important feature to crash test dummies: age. Humanetics hopes to have a prototype for aging by next year.

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